First Sunday race meeting of season at Pontefract

Pontefract's first family day of the season is tomorrow. Picture: Alan Wright
Pontefract's first family day of the season is tomorrow. Picture: Alan Wright

PONTEFRACT’S FIRST family day of the season takes place tomorrow (Sunday) when the track hosts the hugely popular annual totepool Flat Cap and Whippet meeting.

There’s an action-packed day ahead with activities getting underway when the gates open at 11.30am.

Whippets from the Yorkshire Pedigree Whippet Racing Club will take to the racecourse between 12.30 and 1.30pm as they set the scene for their equine counterparts later in the afternoon.

With around 30 whippets racing over a series of races, it’s going to be a fast and furious way to start proceedings.

Whippets and horses are not the only races taking place - a team of ferrets will also be stepping in to the spotlight with racing in the picnic enclosure throughout the afternoon.

It’s worth dusting off that old flat cap from the back of the wardrobe as well.

The first 500 people through the turnstiles wearing a flat cap will win a spot prize of either a tote voucher, a drinks voucher or a racecard.

As has become tradition on Sundays at Pontefract, there are lots of things going on for young racegoers in the picnic enclosure.

With kids rides, a circus, face painting and free activity books and racecards, there’s plenty to keep the little ones occupied while mums and dads enjoy some top class racing.

Eagle eyed kids need to look out for the lucky golden horseshoe too - there’s a hamper of sweets to be won for the first person to find it.

There are also free pony rides as well - plenty to keep even the most active little ones occupied.

If anyone has ever wondered what happens down at the start of the races - in the calm before the race explodes in to action - then they willbe able to pick up a free minibus which will take them down to the starting stalls and bring them back after the race.

Available for any race over five or six furlongs, it provides a fascinating insight into what goes on in the open space of the parkland.

On the track, totepool sponsor all seven races with the highlight being the £45,000 listed totepool Pontefract Castle Fillies’ Stakes won last year by Loving Things who gave trainer Luca Cumani back to back wins in the race.

She ended her season winning a group three contest in France and the 2015 victor Connecticut won a group two contest in Turkey.

The 2017 Pontefract Stayers Championship is shaping up to be a really competitive affair and round four is the totetrifecta Pontefract Cup. Previous winner Tuscan Gold leads the way in the championship at the moment, but if recent impressive course winner Frederic turns up again in the same form, it could all be up for grabs.

As always family tickets (£23) are available in advance for two adults and their children along with a range of alternative packages.

For full details visit the racecourse website at www.pontefract-races.co.uk or telephone 01977 781307.

Racing gets underway at 2pm.